May 23, 2018
The first thing you feel when you pick up a bottle of Don & Sons wine is the label.
Yes, really. It’s a luxurious suede that is mindful of cuddly blanket in front of a crackling fire.
Both the Big Smooth Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon (both $15) are sourced from premier vineyards in California’s famous Lodi region. It is no surprise these two selections are such a hit. They come from the Sebastiani family, the iconic wine house in the wine growing regions of California.
Lodi is the region’s proclaimed “Zinfandel Capital of the World,” producing over 400 percent of California Zinfandel. Its Old Vine Zinfandel plantings date back to 1888. Although the vines are low yielding because of age, their fruit is high quality.
The Lodi region has a classic Mediterranean climate with warm days and cool evenings. This ideal temperature range is situated between and San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada mountains. This ideal climate allows Lodi wine growers to consistently craft a delicious set of full-bodied wines.
But, let’s go back to the two Sebastiani selections. The Sebastiani family said, “Don & Sons is the newest namesake wine — other labels include Simple Life, BSide, The Crusher, and Pepperwood Grove, and more.
“We wanted to create something truly memorable and personal. For over 110 years, our family name has been synonymous with quality winemaking here. This is where our family is rooted. It’s where we live, where we work, and the only place we will ever call home.
“We couldn’t be more proud to carry on our family tradition with a wine that evokes the very essence and spirit of this unique and wonderful place. What’s more, we couldn’t be more excited to lend our very own name, Don & Sons, to this elegant offering from this exceptional region. Our wine is made by, and for, the next generation.”
The Don & Sons Zinfandel, with its eye-catching purple label, is a blend of 81 percent Zinfandel, 13 percent Petite Sirah, and 6 percent Merlot. It opens with explosive aromas of black cherry, blackberry, and fig.
American oak aging produces toasted coconut, vanilla, and dill lift from the glass. On the palate, cascades of boysenberry, pomegranate, and red currants seduce the tastebuds. This selection pairs well with barbecue food like chili burgers and fried chicken, heavy on the spice and flavor.
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon — a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, and Malbec — has enticing aromas of blackberry, cherry, plum, and mint.
The first sip engages the palate with blackberry cobbler, currant, toasted sage, and spearmint, and lingers in a smooth finish. Pour this Cab with poultry, lamb, portabella mushrooms, and any grilled meats. After dinner pair this with dark chocolate and Huntsman cheeses.
Another reason to visit Lodi is the annual Zin Fest, when hundreds of Zin lovers gather to sip and swirl. Lodi is home to over 80 wineries; so take your time, catch the winery bus from downtown (it makes stops at many wineries) and indulge yourself.
A visit to Lodi’s wineries gives you a front row to the always-changing wine scene. After a few stops and a few swirls and sips you might join in singing Credence Clearwater’s Ode to Lodi:
“Just about a year ago, I set out on the road,
Seeking my fame and fortune, looking for a pot of gold.
But, things got bad and things got worse,
Oh, Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi again.”
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